If you're stuck for time and want to discover Persia then look no further than Tehran city. With this Tehran Trip Planner you can experience the different sides of Tehran to get a feel for the rich culture.
Now, let's get started.
Start the day by catching the Tehran Metro to Tajrish Station: the station so deep the locals say you'll find oil deposits. Tajrish is a region in northern Tehran where uptown locals like to unwind and get fresh air. Explore the less crowded bazaar, stroll the royal gardens, enjoy a meal at one of the Iranian restaurants, or start your morning with a fresh hike above the clouds for great views over Tehran city.
The biggest draw card for tourists in the north is the Sa'dabad Palace Complex with it's vast parklands, peaceful mountain streams, scattered royal museums, and relaxing garden cafes. Museums worth visiting here include the White Palace (Palace of the Nation) and Green Palace, along with the Royal Automobile Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, and creative Farshchian Museum. Allow at least 2-3 hours for these, or more if visiting the other museums.
For something more relaxing, walk up Darband Valley to one of the many traditional teahouses. You can sit on a platform perched over a running water stream to sample a galyun pipe with tea and sweets, perhaps try a meal at a traditional Iranian restaurant, or go for a hike up the mountain side to find a spectacular view.
On the second day, this Tehran Trip Planner will take you on a plunge deep into heart of Tehran. Explore the grand bazaar, meet some busy bazaaris, learn about historical Persia visiting museums, checkout the oversized and overprotected embassies, grab a bite at a popular Iranian restaurant, or simply relax in a park away from the busy traffic.
The Grand Bazaar is a maze of bustling alleys with sections for every commodity and product you can think of. We encourage you to meet the local bazaaris (traditional traders), and after a while you may soon realize this bazaar is not only the beating heart of country, but perhaps Eurasia based on its social and geographical position. The Tehran bazaar is the place where collective prayer, politics, finance, trade, and economics culminate together. So go on a treasure hunt to find some hidden artwork and architecture, peep into it's mosque, and see if you can identify what's left of the old city.
While you’re in the area I recommend visiting at least two of these three national museums in the city center.
#1/3: The Golestan Palace is a mosaic of the impressions left by the Pahlavi and Qajari royal dynasties. It's the oldest of the historic monuments in Tehran with a collection of Iranian crafts and royal European gifts. It's a masterpeice of gardens, museums and artifacts spanning centuries. The original complex was a 16th century castle, but was eventually turned into a palace with new city walls during Qajar rule (1794-1925). The complex was reduced in size during the following Pahlavi dynasty to make way for a new city centre plan. However the complex is worth visiting, plus it's a UNESCO site in Iran.
#2/3: The National Jewels Museum is a collection of Iran’s most precious treasures. The collection makes up the largest set of jewels on public display in the world. It tells stories of power struggles with past rulers, of course with a touch of revolutionary flare. During the 18th century Nader Shah estimated the jewels to be worth some £12.5 billion. However with many royal successions, usurpation, espionage, and foreign coups, there is currently no tangible value, or at least for Iranians.
#3/3: The National Museum of Iran is more modest than the Louvre, but still packed full of Persia's rich history. Here you’ll find historical remnants of the vast empire, including artifacts from Sassanians 1800 years agos, 2500 year old Achaemenian remains, 7000 year old Susa neolithic remains, and Tehran province’s very own 6,000 year old pre-Median settlement of Rhaga. There is limited English signage, so hiring one of the guides floating around is highly recommended. There’s also a small cafe (9 am - 5 pm) in a courtyard behind the museum.
If fortunate enough to have a third day in Iran’s capital city, trace the royal Pahlavi gate into the cultural centre of Tehran.
Start by visiting the Azadi Tower near the Meherabad Airport. The 50 meter (164 ft) tall structure is completely clad in the finest cut white marble you'll ever see. The main display is occupied by a copy of the Cyrus Cylinder reflecting the first bill of human rights in the world - perhaps it's no surprise the original cylinder is currently located in London's British Museum.
Next, take a local taxi east on Enghelab Street to reach Laleh Park. Here you can explore the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and the creative Carpet Museum of Iran. Once finished, stroll onward to Shanderman Restaurant around the corner, then make your way to Artist’s Park for some healthy refreshments.
Finish at the park's art gallery, and make sure you check out the public art on display before you leave. There's a metro station nearby one block away so it's easy access home.
For something for confrontational, the ‘US Den of Espionage’ is just around the corner next to the Taleghani Metro Station. Here you can see graffiti on the US Embassy walls made famous shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Back then outraged students are said to have stormed the American Embassy walls, only to find the staff frantically shredding papers and a CIA bunker in a basement. Students had tried to meticulously tape the documents back to together. But if you're hoping to check out the scandel, sorry the site is closed to the public and patrolled: so you cannot take photos inside the embassy grounds, but pictures are allowed of the graffiti on the external walls.
You can find almost everything in this Tehran Trip Planner including the entire regions' crafts, people, art, foods, music, and history. The traffic congestion and air quality is a nightmare, but don't let that scare you away from the hidden treasures of Tehran city.
The best way to discover Tehran is to hire an experienced local tour guide. Either compare the packaged Iran tours or join a cheap Tehran Walking Tour to learn about it's rich history and inspiring culture. You'll get more information of the places to visit in Tehran with an experienced local tour guide.
My favorite luxury hotels in Tehran are the 5 Star Espinas Hotel and Parsian Azadi Hotel Tehran (ex-Grand Hyatt Hotel prior to revolution), both with professional staff and great views from different parts of Tehran. Double rooms start from US $230 and $250 respectively, including breakfast.
Decent 4 Star Hotels also include Niloo Hotel and Escan Hotel. Or for more budget options, the 3 Star Rated Mashad Hotel is right next to Taleghani Metro and provides comfort at US $130 for a double, including breakfast. Otherwise Iran Central Hotel (Hotel Markazi), Firouzeh Hotel, and Golestan Hotel Tehran are also some of the better budget options under $80/night.
There are also Hostels in Tehran from $10 U.S. per night for the budget travellers.
Of the Best Restaurants in Tehran, not far away from the city centre is the popular Gol Rezaeieye Cafe serving great traditional Iranian meals in a cute and hip American diner setting. Dizi Restaurant is also rated highly on Trip Adviser for a great stew, or Coffeeshop and Veggie Restaurant serves only vegetarian meals if that's more you (conveniently near Artists Park in Tehran). Or if you're in northern Tehran near Darband, Tehran SPU Restaurant is highly recommended. But for a great cup of coffee checkout Romaan Book Cafe near the Italian Embassy (what a perfectly match).
If you're on foot in Tehran city centre and just want some easy travel advice, or convenient and cheap ticketing for cheap domestic flights, trains, or buses. Then Asia 2000 Tour and Travel agency is located just around the corner from Ferdowsi Square. They are highly recommended on Lonely Planet for English speaking staff.
A Tehran Trip Planner couldn't be more simple.
Was this article helpful? Leave your comments below.
Follow us: @Sfiran_Travel
Or get Social with Sfiran below.